Hundreds of thousands of Rohinguya Muslims are to return home.
Today, a deal between Bangladesh and Myanmar was signed, allowing the Rohingya refugees to return to their home country. No timeline or any other details of the agreement have yet been released.
The Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s reputation suffered greatly due to her perceived inaction regarding the Rohingya crisis. She reassured the international community that the repatriation of the stateless Muslim minority would be entirely “safe and voluntary”. However, numerous aid agencies and right groups are concerned for Rohingya’s safety – in Myanmar, Rohinguya Muslims are ruthlessly persecuted, and this deal will not protect them from further mistreatment.
Since August 2016, more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims were forced to flee Myanmar, to escape the constant violence they were facing in the country. Nevertheless, the Burmese army denies any misdoings, it exonerated itself from killing any Rohingya people or burning their villages. This particular statement of the army commander in chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, is especially worrying: “The situation must be acceptable for both local Rakhine ethnic people and Bengalis, and emphasis must be placed on wish of local Rakhine ethnic people who are real Myanmar citizens.”
According to the 1982 law, the Myanmar citizenship is tied to membership of recognised ethnic groups, from which Rohingya Muslims are excluded.
The UN officials labeled the crisis in Myanmar as “ethnic cleansing”, other prefer the term “genocide”. This week, the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson threatened targeted sanctions against those responsible for these “horrendous atrocities”.